Dining by the Sea:
Costa Kitchen & Bar brings Southern Italian fare by Executive Chef Nathan Lingle to the beachfront Mar Monte Hotel, part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt. The Spanish tiles from 1931 have been painstakingly restored and mixed with Block Shop Textile wall art as the perfect mix of old and new world. The sunny yellow accents of the dining room cast the perfect mood for dipping crusty bread into a steamy bowl of cioppino loaded with local shellfish or an artichoke in a Pinot Grigio/Calabrian chili broth.
For daytime activities, you can take one of the bikes down to the shore or play bocce ball. The pool has a roving oyster shucker and wine pairings during sunset at the ocean-view lobby lounge. In the morning, a prosciutto egg sandwich or date shake from Café Lido are a must before you tackle any waves.
This past April, the old Malibu Farm space at the Rosewood Miramar Beach has morphed into The Revere Room, awash in a subtle hue of hand-painted, pale-blue wallpaper and crisp white chairs leading out to a patio. The all-day menu by chef Massimo utilizes the on-site garden and local purveyors for “land, sea, and air” dishes such as veggie chop, shrimp mac and cheese, and albondigas with fresh tortillas—and you can still glimpse the ocean views out over the main lawn.
Down in the village, Montecito Inn’s indoor-outdoor Coast & Olive features Snake River farms Wagyu burgers with bacon jam, brussels sprouts sauteed with hazelnuts, and an addictive spicy-sweet popcorn mixture for cocktail hour. Next door, chef Phillip Frankland Lee runs an intimate 17-course omakase SushiBar. Across the street, the Folded Hills wine-tasting room, exclusive to the area, lets you can sip a tasting flight, from rosé to Syrah, while having sandwiches on Bob’s Well bread out on the patio.
If you’d rather stay in town and walk to the shops, galleries, and cafes on State Street, Palihouse in the Presidio District brings the quirky curated décor and charm of the brand to a Spanish colonial–inspired building on Garden Street. The new courtyard restaurant and bar has one of the best breakfast burritos in town with a local, citrusy Figueroa Mountain IPA and a classic negroni or perfectly chilled martini in the evening.
Just a few blocks away, La Paloma Café—from the owners of Funk Zone favorites The Lark, Loquita, and Lucky Penny—is a lively, multilevel Mexican patio spot crying out for a celebration. Start with the crispy wheat chips with citrus that are a healthy alternative to tortilla chips, and a Paloma tequila cocktail, but don’t skip the Santa Maria Tri-Tip with BBQ pinquito beans or JT’s Salad with charred corn on a garlic tostada.
Downtown Dining: Cool new spots worth a visit include Venus in Furs wine bar (they make wine cocktails, too) or Secret Bao, which uses everything from pork belly to PB&J to stuff its modern Asian buns.
Summerland: On the way in or out of town, be sure to stop at the new hotspot Field + Fort for coffee and scones on picnic benches outside and all things home and garden, from gourmet pantry finds to chocolates, cookbooks, and cookware.